By Kenneth Jukpor
Port stakeholders have set a goal to attain cleaner and more efficient port system using the Nigerian Ports Process Manual (NPPM) to expunge the numerous port sector challenges.
This resolution was reached during a sensitization programme on NPPM organized by Nigerian Ports Authority (NPA) for stakeholders at the Lagos Ports Complex (LPC), yesterday.
According to the Head, Technical Unit, Governance and Anti-Corruption Reforms Agency (TUGAR), Mrs. Lilian Ekeanyanwu, with NPPM Nigerian ports are set to attain a cleaner and more efficient status in the next one year.
She noted that prior to the introduction of NPPM, TUGAR conducted a corruption risk assessment through the request of an international organization due to the complaints of Nigerian ports being corrupt.
“We introduced an intergrity plan and the port process manual fell under the medium plan and it is geared towards checkmating anormalies and compliants in the port system. The manual will also address issues in a timely manner. So, stakeholders should key into it for the country to have a cleaner and accountable port system,” she said.
Speaking at the summit, the Managing Director of Nigerian Ports Authority (NPA) Ms Hadiza Bala-Usman stated that NPPM addresses the need for port stakeholders to clarify their procedures with the aim of reducing regulatory burden and bureaucracy on port users.
Usman who was represented by the Authority’s General Manager, Public Private Partnership (PPP), Mrs. Eniola Williams stressed that NPPM would also curb corruption and enhance the reputation of the country in port operations.
Her words: “The activities of port sector agencies portray an image of the nation in the international community. NPPM makes the port process simpler and offers detailed information of every port agency, including timelines.”
She noted that similar sensitization programmes have taken place in Rivers at Port Harcourt and Onne, as well as Calabar ports. There are also plans to hold similar sensitization at Warri port.
Also speaking at the summit, the Executive Secretary of Nigerian Shippers’ Council (NSC) Mr. Hassan Bello posited that maritime sector offers the best alternative for economic diversification and NPPM is key to realizing such potential.
Bello was represented by NSC’s Deputy Director, Regulatory Services, Mrs. Celine Ifeora, who stated that NPPM could boost the sector’s employment and investment opportunities, facilitate trade and strengthen Nigeria’s global trade.
The NSC boss identified joint ship boarding, physical examination of cargoes and zero tolerance for corruption as some of the crucial features that NPPM emphasizes.
“The process manual of port operation is expected to be one of the key indicators of effective implementation of Executive Order 1 issued in 2017 which is essentially geared towards promoting transparency and efficiency in the business environment,” he said.
The sensitization programme was attended by Nigeria Customs Service (NCS), freight forwarders, truck owners, terminal operators and other port stakeholders.